Arsenal Reserves got a valuable work-out under their belts on Tuesday night but went down 4-2 in an entertaining game at Carrow Road.
A crowd in excess of 7,000 turned up to watch Norwich entertain a young Gunners side which included seven players from last week's Carling Cup squad. In the event, Wigan's conquerors were outshone by Luke Daley, who hit a hat-trick for the Canaries.
Emmanuel Frimpong had given Arsenal an early lead but Daley's treble - plus a goal from Kris Renton - put the game out of the visitors' reach before Amaury Bischoff netted a late consolation.
Either way, this was a useful 90 minutes for Neil Banfield's players with no Reserve League game scheduled until Portsmouth visit Underhill on December 16 following the postponement of the North London derby with Tottenham on December 1.
Arsenal started their night in Norfolk in promising fashion when Frimpong's fourth-minute free-kick - from all of 25 yards - deflected off Norwich's defensive wall, wrong-footing goalkeeper Stuart Nelson and finding the net.
The Gunners looked to increase their lead through Bischoff. The midfielder rounded Nelson and looked for all the world to have a simple tap-in but Simon Lappin, a commanding figure in central defence, made a fantastic goal-saving tackle.
Norwich almost levelled when Daley and Josh Dawkin combined. The latter's shot was pounced upon by Robert Eagle whose shot was beaten away by Vito Mannone. But the Canaries were level a minute later when Eagle picked out Daley at the back post and he coolly converted with a right-foot volley past the Arsenal keeper.
The hosts were ahead on the half-hour mark when Daley latched on to Eagle's through ball before beating Mannone at the second attempt.
Five minutes later Norwich doubled their advantage. Dawkin was again involved down the right and his low centre was met by the sliding Tom Adeyemi. Mannone saved with his legs but Renton was on hand to drive home the loose ball past the Italian.
The second half was only eight minutes old when Daley completed his hat-trick, tapping home from close range after Mannone could only parry Dawkin's shot into his path.
Arsenal hit back and Jay Simpson had two good chances in the space of five minutes to reduce the deficit but found Nelson in top form. The Norwich stopper tipped both efforts round the post.
Banfield brought on Giles Sunu and Tom Cruise but Norwich stood firm as Arsenal pressed forward in search of goals. Former Norwich loanee Kieran Gibbs, on his first return to Carrow Road, found space behind the City defence on the left but drove his shot into the side netting.
Jack Wilshere went on a mazy run with 15 minutes left but Damon Lathrope forced him wide and his England Under-17 colleague Jed Steer made a good save.
Bischoff scored a consolation goal for Arsenal in injury time, slamming home a left-foot volley from the edge of the box giving Steer no chance.
- Ayling 55
- Frimpong Goal!
- Emmanuel-Thomas 55
- Bischoff Goal!
- Sunu 55
- Cruise 55
- Nelson 63
- Francomb Yellow Card
- Adeyemi Goal!
- Kienast 18
- Daley Goal! Goal! Goal!
- Renton 90
- Steer 63
- Habergham 18
- Omoregie 90